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Auldenfire Group Consistent Project Success

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The Auldenfire MDA Software Atelier: A workshop methodology and process, based on the OMG's MDA, using specialized function cells to transform stock components into customized enterprise applications.

Global enterprise projects are a challenging world where failure is more likely than success. The 1995 and 2000 CHAOS reports from the Standish Group show this clearly. Success - defined by the Standish Group as a project that is completed on time, within budget, and that met all of the original requirements - requires a disciplined approach based on an architectural framework. The introduction of management science and formal methodologies into information technology has increased the success rate of projects. Although the number of successful projects more than doubled from 1995 to 2000, the success rate is still only 28% (green portion of pie chart below). As budgets, number of people, number of functional delivery points, and length of time increase, the rate of success drops dramatically. Almost three quarters of all projects are either classified as failed (red portion of pie chart below) - defined as being canceled - or impaired (yellow portion of pie chart below) - defined as exceeding budget, exceeding allotted time, or failing to deliver all of the original requirements. The pie charts below illustrate the increase in project success from 1995 to 2000 (source: Standish Group CHAOS Study):

Challenged projects 1995 Challenged projects 2000
(Click the images above to view them in full size)

Results from the CHAOS study indicate that the increasing use of formal methods, use of architectural frameworks, and disciplined project management is driving the increase in project success. Auldenfire has always been a strong proponent of formal processes and methods based on sound business management principals.

Auldenfire has a significant number of consultants on assignment helping clients with troubled projects in both management and technical roles. ASR Strategic Resources (ASR) Professional Services (ASR-PS) alone tasked 70% of external consulting activities helping clients get troubled projects back on track. In over 80% of these cases, only a few people were required (typically 1 to 6 [ASR-PS-2000]).

Do They Get It?

Applying common sense to information technology initiatives is an essential element of success. Unfortunately, projects frequently fail because of politics, ineffective and inefficient implementation approaches, improper skill-sets, lack of knowledge, and failure to control the process. When the economy is good and the company is profitable, initial warning signs are frequently ignored. Most companies do not begin to take corrective steps until they face a crisis. Bottom line, success needs planning, discipline, vision, and effective and efficient use of resources. Auldenfire provides the benefits of real-world IT business management experience with the requisite technical background and independent third-party perspective essential for providing management with a balanced perspective.

Auldenfire's guiding principle concerning information technology development is simple: The economic costs and benefits must be evaluated and an option chosen that will result in, from an economic standpoint, the maximum return on investment (ROI) back to the organization. In economic terms, the organization must be better off at the conclusion of a project than when it started. Information technology serves the organization by automating the business process, delivering economically valuable services, increasing efficiency, and enabling an organization to become more effective in carrying out its objectives. Information technology must serve the customer - both internal and external.

On Time - On Budget

Sound business practices need to be applied to information technology development. These practices include:

  • Resource Planning - Auldenfire provides valuable resourcing services by utilizing our own senior developers to screen applicants by using both technical interviews and skills assessment tests. Auldenfire has been developing and using assessment tests since 1983. Auldenfire also works with the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) to develop vendor-neutral, independent, third-party, professional certification exams. Our applicant screening process involves senior project leaders and managers with enterprise experience. It takes a senior enterprise developer to recognize a senior enterprise developer and to build an effective team with the correct set of skills and experience to deliver on time and on budget. We apply the same high standards to our clients as we do to our own internal development teams. Auldenfire's combined experience in recruiting, interviewing, testing, and team building ensures that the right people with the right skills and experience are assigned to your project.

  • Vendor Management - Auldenfire has extensive experience managing vendor relationships since 1983. Organizations have their own agendas. Many vendors have one objective: Close the deal fast and get as much money as possible up front. Auldenfire is interested in building long-term relationships with our clients. Auldenfire works for you, the client, to provide independent, third-party information that can be relied on. Our experience in product testing, product integration, negotiating enterprise application purchases and service level agreements (SLA), and our product implementation life-cycle knowledge allows us to represent your best interests when dealing with vendors. Enterprise applications are typically expensive. In addition to the license fees and initial installation and configuration costs, many enterprise applications can require months of integration and custom development work. Auldenfire can help negotiate incremental cost structures allowing the client to optimize Return On Investment (ROI) by shifting acquisition costs to appropriate economic benefit milestone dates. For example, a company purchasing a web content management (WCM) application may decide to also purchase a personalization application at the same time. Large WCM implementations can often take a year to complete, yet the organization needs to maintain revenues to cover the ROI expectations of the share holders for both the WCM and personalization investments. Delaying the purchase of the personalization application until the organization is ready to start integrating it into the enterprise will positively impact ROI. Auldenfire provides business and economic impact analysis to help an organization develop an effective project implementation plan.

  • Maintaining Project Focus - People are best utilized when they focus on one thing at a time. Individual multitasking should be kept to a minimum. Large-scale, complex enterprise projects require structure, coordination, and direction to keep on track. Auldenfire's senior project leads and managers are degreed professionals with the real-world experience critical to maintaining team focus.

  • Managing Expectations - Successful projects keep things simple. Auldenfire integration and development activities focus on the basics first, before trying to add additional functionality and complexity. Breaking up a complex project into smaller, well-defined, and scoped tasks, is an important part of managing expectations - it is easy to take on too much. Auldenfire is not afraid to say no. Auldenfire values long-term relationships with our customers. Long-term relationships require open and honest communication. Auldenfire applies quantitative management science practices coupled with economic and technology assessments to evaluate the economic cost and return on investment (E-ROI) to help our clients make informed decisions when a solution provides less than 100% of the requirements - often the benefits of an incomplete solution are "good enough" to justify a less aggressive customization effort.

  • Managing Change - Change is a pervasive state in information technology. Introducing new IT solutions frequently changes how an organization functions, which in turn can create the need for additional IT changes. Auldenfire has technical business analysts and project managers that are experienced in managing change in the enterprise. In addition to workflow and business process impact assessment, Auldenfire also provides workforce, implementation, and economic assessment. Auldenfire is experienced in helping clients shift from traditional architectures (that are homogeneous, centrally managed, often based around "big iron" mainframes, synchronous and local with infrequent failures) to distributed architectures (that are heterogeneous, remote, autonomous, geographically dispersed, not as secure, and have evolving configurations built with different hardware and software components over time where partial system failures are frequent).

  • Maximizing Return On Investment (ROI) - Understand the maturation life-cycle of a product when making a buy decision - enterprise applications frequently take time before all of the features are utilized. Only purchase as much as is actually needed to complete each stage of the integration. A big bang implementation combined with a big upfront purchase will have a negative impact on ROI if the return will not be realized for some time. Vendor management has become an increasingly critical part of information technology business management. Auldenfire has expert knowledge on application integration lifecycles, which helps clients negotiate and plan their projects with the application vendors.

  • Mitigating Risk - Risk mitigation is a continuing process that requires both commitment and discipline. Auldenfire is committed to core enterprise architecture and development. Auldenfire maintains a proactive risk mitigation program including:

    • Formal training emphasizing hands-on, real-world implementation topics and the underlying theory required to understand critical concepts
    • Multinational teams to leverage problem solving and to allow better integration with our international clients
    • Local presence and colocation with our strategic partners and clients reducing the cost of team deployment and increasing communication
    • Small business organizations with flat management structures emphasizing technical skill-sets and roles
    • A customer service and quality assurance program based on Total Quality Management (TQM) and implementation of ISO 9000:2000
    • Adoption of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM)
    • Active participation in industry and academia organizations developing international and industry standards
    • Dedicated development and support infrastructure
    • Development infrastructure completely isolated from the Internet
    • Security procedures and awareness programs
    • Resource recruitment practices using technical interviews, skills assessment tests, and trainee/internship programs
    • Proven methodologies and practices that conform to industry accepted standards

Bottom line, Auldenfire provides shorter delivery times because we have full life-cycle project experience, enterprise tool sets, proven methodologies, discipline, and a commitment to excellence. Our rolling team approach allows us to leverage economies of scale - providing our clients with shorter build times and lower implementation costs. Auldenfire's core focus is the enterprise.

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2002
Events Calendar
Seminars & Workshops
January 24 2002
Technical Briefing
National Airspace System Information Architecture Committee
Dynamic Metadata Support in Air Traffic Environments
September 19 2001
Legion MDA Software Atelier Workshop Stockholm
September 2001
OMG Technical Meeting Toronto
Auldenfire presents MDA repository whitepaper and architecture overview
August 2001
Legion MDA Software Atelier Pilot Roll-Out
July 2001
OMG Technical Meeting Boston
Auldenfire responsible for content description design models and requirements for platform independent MDA repository

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